The buzz of a whole new world on my door-step
Published 09/02/2016 | 02:30
We all have people or places that we casually encounter every day which we scarcely afford a glance; if the time comes that you do actually connect, it may feel like the opening up of a whole new vista.
Durrow, our nearest village, three miles away, is a place I know well.
It's where I go to the butcher - Tommy Kenna at The Stores. Even down through the tough years when so many people were going to the supermarket for their meat, Tommy did a solid local trade during the week and this was boosted on a Saturday evening by lorry drivers picking up the Sunday roast. And Tommy's is not even the only butchers; Pius Hennessy also has a strong and loyal following.
There are three grocery outlets, a hardware shop and undertakers, a fire station, and a Post Office that's housed in a quaint building that's as welcoming as its staff. There's also a flower shop, a number of pubs, hairdressers, health centre, crèche, a filling station and garage, flower shop and pharmacy.
There are several eating houses, including the Castle Arms hotel, which is busy on Sundays with tea dances and for the rest of the week doing MTV (Meat and Two Veg) dinners for farmers from miles around while the duck egg-blue painted Bowe's café is a chic daytime eatery for yummy mummies and suited types.
Built as a coaching inn, the Ashbrook Arms is now an elegant restaurant and townhouse while Durrow Castle, voted last year by TripAdvisor members as one of the world's top ten castles, is a popular wedding destination and fine dining establishment. Their proximity to each other keeps them both on their toes.
Many bigger towns have nowhere near as much going on and it's all due to the enterprise and hard work of locals. They host several annual events including the quirky Scarecrow Festival. A couple of months back, Harps GAA and Durrow Development Forum ran a Strictly Come Dancing which raised €40,000 while, a few years ago, the DDF planted thousands of daffodils along the approach roads.
The village dates back to 546AD, as the site of a monastery founded by St. Columb. Today, there are two churches and the Protestant version accommodates a pipe organ by the famed Samuel Green.